From the monthly archives:

December 2012

Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 30, 2012

O astonishing grace,
That the reprobate race
Should be so reconciled!
What a wonder of wonders that God is a child!
[...]

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http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/27/piers-morgan-gun-laws
There were 8,583 firearms murders in the USA in 2011, the equivalent of almost three Ground Zeros. It may take time, but for America the war on terror should begin at home by crushing their assault rifles not anyone, at home or abroad, expressing the voice of reason.

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Christmas with Charles Wesley

by Richard on December 25, 2012

GLORY be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend!
God comes down, and bows the sky,
And shows himself our friend!
God the invisible appears;
God, the blest, the great I AM,
Sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is his name.
Him the angels all adored,
Their Maker and their King.
Tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring.
Emptied of [...]

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A God who poops

by Kim on December 25, 2012

“It’s a boy!” Not that mum and dad were surprised by the baby’s gender. Better than an ultrasound scan, Mary had had a house-call from paediatric angel. Was Joe present during labour? No, none of that trendy girlie-man stuff in first-century Palestine. No one for Mary to shout and swear at [...]

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Christmas with Charles Wesley

by Richard on December 24, 2012

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born today!”
Christ, by highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a Virgin’s womb!
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead [...]

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Happy birthday, baby Jesus,
born in awkward circumstance,
named in heaven “God is with us”
while the world looked on askance.
You were praised by simple peasants,
not by princes nor by priests.
Who should bring you priceless presents?
Unbelievers from the East!
Son of Mary, girl unmarried,
maid with soul who sang of peace,
with your father she was harried
by Judea’s thought police.
Boy delivered [...]

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Advent 4 sermon: Yes, it’s true

by Richard on December 23, 2012

Kim Fabricius:
Angie and I had our first grandchild in July, and in a very real sense that we all feel intuitively, viscerally, the birth of every child is a small protest against the tired, cynical view that we are condemned to live lives of the same-old same-old, locked in a system of one-damned-thing-after-another. But in [...]

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“The Annunciation” by Denise Levertov

by Kim on December 23, 2012

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.
But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
courage.
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent. God waited.
She was free
to accept or [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 23, 2012

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favoured lady,” Gloria!
“For known a blessèd Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honour thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady,” Gloria!
Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me [...]

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On goodies and baddies

by Richard on December 22, 2012

The always excellent PamBG has responded to Friday’s NRA statement over on Facebook. She has allowed me to use it here.
From memory: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Ah, the dualistic world where there are only good guys or bad guys. Where the good [...]

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Carol of the day*

by Richard on December 22, 2012

Altan sing the Gaelic carol ‘Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil’ (That night in Bethlehem).

As luck (or providence, your choice) would have it, you can also use this haunting tune to ‘O little town of Bethlehem’. It makes a nice change.
* I know. It isn’t quite time for carols yet. So sue me.

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What God does

by Richard on December 22, 2012

From Rowan Williams’ 2005 Christmas message
Christmas reminds us of the one thing we know for sure - and that is God’s way of responding to suffering. He doesn’t wave a magic wand, or descend briefly from the sky to clean things up. He arrives on earth as a human being who will change things simply [...]

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Dharma doodlings

by Richard on December 22, 2012

From Kim Fabricius over at Faith and Theology
A Methodist friend of mine asked me if I would help him with a talk he was preparing on Arminianism. I said, “Only if it’s a eulogy.”
A Calvinist friend of mine asked me if I would help him with a talk he was preparing on double predestination. “Sorry,” [...]

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Decrees of a dead tongue gone,
The flicker of Greek in the vernacular,
An age for the East and Yoga,
For lotus and resting. One word
Cannot be spoken or carved.
If music suggests it, it erred.
Christ in this age you are nameless,
Your praises and slanders have sunk
To oaths. Love has somehow slipped by
What once throbbed in an [...]

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Discover the vulnerable God this Christmas

by Richard on December 21, 2012

Christmas message from Mark Wakelin, President of Conference
I was asked once by a well-known broadcaster, ‘do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?’ I replied, as you do, by asking him, ‘it depends on what you mean by, ‘Son of God.’  His reply shook me because he then said, ‘It’s a perfectly simple [...]

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In one sense radical gun-control in the US is a no-brainer — with the problem being that a lot of Americans have even less grey matter than that. In another sense, however, I suspect that legislating the comprehensive decommissioning of these little weapons of mass destruction would be like passing the 18th Amendment/Volstead Act [...]

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The terrible events in Newtown last week have quite rightly reverberated around the world. There can be no response to such things other than sorrow and anguished silence. If anything, the shock was greater even than that caused by 9/11: bringing such targeted, calculated violence to what should have been a place of nurture and [...]

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Thoughts and prayers

by Kim on December 17, 2012

Thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers
For moms and dads in black despair.
Thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers
From President, congressmen, governors, mayors.
Thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers
From the NRA and Wayne LaPierre.
Thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers
The grief we feel, the pain we share.
Thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers
But by Amendment Two we swear.
Thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers
But guns are money, [...]

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Children die from drought and earthquake,
children die by hand of man.
What on earth, and what for God’s sake,
can be made of such a plan?
Nothing — no such plan’s been plotted;
nothing — no such plan exists:
if such suffering were allotted,
God would be an atheist.
Into ovens men drive brothers,
into buildings men fly planes;
history’s losers are the mothers,
history’s [...]

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A lament

by Richard on December 15, 2012

What else should we do today?
[Music is Blind Willie Johnson: Dark was the night, cold was the ground]

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